With the petitioners in the ongoing 2020 Election Petition case at the Supreme Court, continuously losing all the applications they have filed at the court, there have been calls for them to file a motion to discontinue the case.
On one side is the growing public opinion that the judges sitting on the case are not giving a fair hearing to the petitioners, and on the other side, a member of the National Democratic Congress and Member of Parliament for the South Dayi, Rockson-Nelson Este Kwami Dafeamekpor, thinks that it is time for John Dramani Mahama to pull out of the case.
He believes that with the way Justices at the Supreme Court are throwing out motions filed by the Counsels for the Petitioner, it clearly shows that the opposition party is endangered and that “justice emanates from the people” as espoused in the Constitution no longer holds.
But a private legal practitioner, Maurice Ampaw, has stated that while that sounds like a reasonable decision to make, it is too late for them to do so.
“When you go to the battlefield and you realize that the law is not on your side, the evidence does not favor you, what do you do? You can throw in the towel but where we’ve gotten to, if you throw in the towel, the court will go ahead because you can’t just discontinue. You must state reasons for which you want to discontinue and the court can refuse because where we’ve gotten to, they are about to pass judgment and so what are you running away from?” he said.
Speaking with GhanaWeb in a telephone interview, he wondered what it is that the petitioners will be running away from in a case they brought to the court themselves, seeking now to withdraw.
“Even if they go to file to discontinue, we have passed that stage. You have led evidence, you have closed your case, the respondents have also interrogated you and now, there is time for addresses and then judgment. So, it’s too late in the day for you to say that you are withdrawing,” he stated.
He further explained why it appears the petitioners seem to be ‘losing’ the case in court, blaming it on the porous nature of their case.
“You go to court and in persecuting your case, you make sure that you rely on your case, build a solid case, don’t think for your opponent, in fact, have a team where you divide your team: one speaks for the petitioner and one pretends to speak for the respondent. And then make sure that all the strategies that the respondent is capable of using against your case, you know it.
“You should also have in mind that the respondent can do two things; either the respondent can decide to respond to your case, or to keep quiet so, you must ask yourself that if the respondent decides to keep quiet, what will be your strategy? But you don’t go to the court without planning your case well, not organizing your thoughts well, your legal arguments are not what can convince the court, your facts and your evidence so porous,” he said.
Maurice Ampaw also advised people making a case about a fair-hearing to properly understand the merits of the case before they rant about any such thing.
He explained that the court works with evidence and that exactly what it has been doing so far.
“Those who are talking about fair hearing, what are they talking about? Fair hearing to the ordinary Ghanaian, those who are interested in media trial, those who are doing the case in the public opinion, they don’t understand it. Fair hearing by law is giving everybody the opportunity to be heard. Did the court refuse the petitioner’s hearing? Did they prevent them from doing their case per the rules pertaining to the proceedings?
“So, when we talk about fair hearing, it is not about compelling somebody the law protects. The law says that everybody has the right to remain silent so should your right to fair hearing violate somebody’s right to remain silent?
“The public opinion doesn’t matter. What the public thinks, we don’t care about it because that is not the law. The public is not the law. The case was not filed in the court of public opinion; the case was not filed in the media – nobody had a copy of the petition. The case was filed in a court of competent jurisdiction so there are rules and regulations on how the case will be ruled and managed and that is exactly what the Supreme Court is doing; they are focused,” he said.
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